Is Postpartum Depression A Feminist Issue?

feminism and postpartum depressionI don’t know that I consider myself a feminist, per se, but I have always believed that postpartum depression is a women’s issue and all women should take up the cause, not just those who’ve survived it.

If 20% of all the women we know — whether they are our sisters, our daughters or our friends — are going to have postpartum depression, I just don’t believe the whole of womankind should carry on as if it’s okay that most of them are uneducated about it, don’t expect it, don’t know what to do when they get it, and often don’t get proper treatment from medical professionals. I’ve often wondered why we can’t get more attention and energy devoted to this issue, one that is crucial to the health of mothers and children.

I came upon this post, “Why Postpartum Depression is a Feminist Issue,” at a blog called SheRights and I just had to share it with you. Here’s a highlight:

“… the stigma associated with postpartum depression is not unlike that of other ‘women’s’ issues: rape, abortion, domestic violence.  Each of these involves complex emotions and they are, statistically speaking, widely shared experiences. However, they are also largely shrouded in silence, with expectations of guilt and shame. The feminist community has rallied around rape and domestic violence victims and has worked tirelessly to eliminate stigma surrounding abortion. And while postpartum depression is a complicated multi-layered issue, its feminist component is coming into sharper focus by the day.

By definition, postpartum depression is entwined with motherhood, which itself is extremely politicized and scrutinized: from how and where a woman gives birth, to whether and how long she breastfeeds, to her decision to stay at home or work, etc. It’s an issue that the feminist community has become increasingly vocal about. So why the silence around postpartum depression?”

Good question.

Photo credit: © Paulista – Fotolia.com

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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Comments

  1. Katherine, this post inspires me to keep sharing my story. If I do not talk about it, then who will? All women need to be aware and educated on postpartum depression. It might not be them, but it could be a friend, a sister or a daughter who ends up suffering.

  2. It is a feminist issue, because there many struggle and many are judged.

    So too is the mentality ‘I don’t consider myself a feminist’. It goes hand in hand. When we think on issues like this and others, if we total up where we stand…

    we’re feminists. That too many see it that way is a function of how well those who try to misrepresent us have succeeded.

    So where do we go from here?

    Speak up, create awareness by integrating into the feminist community. There are many voices within it, but one works best from within it. Bring the issue forward,make it known. I’m sure you would have appreciated knowing a support system existed. We need to stand together. Making it a feminist issue starts with you (something that can be said for each of us.)